MIC Environmental biota (beach) sampling


MIC Environmental sampled subsistance foods on the beaches of Annette Islands Reserve.
NOAA assisted in conducting the sampling , ATSDR analysed the results for Human Health Risks.
The results were presented to the Council, and later to State and Federal representatives at the Alaska Forum on the Environment.
The results are presented on another page(click to view)




MIC Environmental Seafood Sampling

May 2002

What’s going on?

Members of the Metlakatla Indian Community are concerned about the safety of eating seafood collected around Annette Island. Past military activities, a recently closed sawmill, sanitary sewer outfalls, and other activities may have contaminated parts of the Island.

In response to these concerns, fish and shellfish will be sampled in late May 2002 around Annette Island. The sampling and analysis work will help determine whether fish, shellfish, and seaweed around the Island are safe for eating and commercial sale.

Who will use the results?

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will use data generated by this study to develop an environmental public health assessment for the Community. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) may also review the data to determine whether contaminants are harmful to marine organisms.

Where will the seafood be collected?

At the Community's request, sampling will take place in 10 areas. These areas are listed below and shown on the map.

  1. Tamgas Harbor Beaches
    (near the old fuel dock)
  2. Hospital Beach
  3. Central Tamgas Harbor
  4. Moss Point
  5. Point Davison
  1. Smuggler Cove
  2. The Sand Bar
  3. The LP Sawmill
  4. Port Chester
  5. Reference station
    (to compare to results from impacted areas)

What species of seafood will be collected?

Based on discussions with the Community, the species collected will include:

  • butter clams
  • cockles
  • gumboots (chitons)
  • seaweed
  • octopus
  • dungeness crab
  • halibut
  • king salmon

What will the results mean?

This preliminary study is a screening or scoping-level effort. Sampling in this study targets the areas where contaminants are most likely to be found, and the species most likely to be contaminated. Very sensitive testing will be used to detect low levels of contaminants. If contaminants are found at the testing levels used in this study, more work will be needed to determine how severe the problem is and how far it extends. The results of this work will help guide future sampling efforts, if they are needed.

Species of seafood collected, by location

Sampling Location butter clams cockles gumboots seaweed octopus Dungeness crab halibut king salmon
Tamgas Harbor Beaches X X X     X    
Hospital Beach X X       X    
Central Tamgas Harbor             X X
Moss Point         X X    
Point Davison     X X X X    
Smuggler Cove X X X X X X X  
Sand Bar
X X     X X    
LP Sawmill X       X X    
Port Chester               X
Reference station
X X X X X X    

What contaminants will the seafood be tested for?

The samples will be tested for several groups of contaminants, including:

  • metals (arsenic, lead, etc.)
  • PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls (contaminants contained in old transformer oil)
  • pesticides
  • PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (combustion by-products)

What these acronyms and terms mean

aquatic biota: fish, shellfish, and seaweed

ATSDR: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

chitons: gumboots

EPA: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

MIC: Metlakatla Indian Community

NOAA: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

PAHs: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (combustion by-products)

PCBs: polychlorinated biphenyls (contaminants found in transformer oil)

USFWS: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service